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The National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA) is an invaluable resource for the algae community around the globe. As a leading distributor of marine microalgae and macroalgae for science and industry, the NCMA has sold its cultures to more than 2,800 customers in 58 countries. But we have developed into much more than a biological repository. 

Consultancy: NCMA can support your algal-related commercialization efforts at the earliest stages by providing professional consulting support in the following areas: Microalgae isolation, growth and maintenance; Strain and growth medium selection; Growth facility set up and choices; Scale up; Metabolite Screening; Harvesting technologies; Algae company introductions; Chemistry; Microbiology; and Molecular biology.

Contracted Research: We are continually expanding our service capabilities to work with biotechnology companies worldwide on a range of projects. Common projects include collaborating with Bigelow Analytical Services, another Bigelow Laboratory fee-for-service facility, to screen the NCMA algal collection for a strain that most efficiently produces a desired compound.  In addition, we have access to the Bigelow Seawater Suite and our research greenhouse to optimize growth conditions, develop a better understanding of the scalability, 20-20,000L, of financial models and ultimately produce strains at a pilot scale.

Intellectual Property Development: In addition to directly facilitating your research, NCMA can support your efforts by holding your own private strain in a Private Collection to ensure a clean back up is always available. The Private Collection service offered by NCMA is a useful tool for companies developing a risk management plan.  If your algal products/processes is based upon the use of a NCMA strain, NCMA offers several options for licensing our strains (see options below). As your research moves further down the commercialization pathway, NCMA can also support your IP development as NCMA is a WIPO Patent Deposit Authority.  Both Private Collection holdings and Licensed strains can readily transferred to Patent Deposits.

Licensing options. NCMA provides three licensing options for algal strains; please reach out to us for detailed license agreements and with any questions. 

Exclusive License – strain(s) cannot be sold to or licensed by any other entity.  

Semi-Exclusive License – strain(s) cannot be sold to or licensed by any other commercial entity but can be sold to academic parties. 

Non-Exclusive License – strain(s) can be sold to or licensed by any other entity.  

Note: For Exclusive and semi-exclusive license agreements, the sale of licensed strain(s) will be restricted upon execution of the agreement. A notification of change in commercialization status will be sent to customers who had purchased the same strain within a time period of 3 years prior to the license agreement.


Please email ncma@bigelow.org for more information.